About the Department

Welcome to the college’s home for applied social sciences.

We are a small, welcoming community of scholars and friends united by our passion for preparing the next generation of teachers and improving our ability to reach out to communities. The scholarship in the Department of Agricultural Economics, Sociology, and Education is related to people, society, and economic systems grounded in theory and methods from the social, behavioral, and economic sciences. Faculty and students develop and employ rigorous approaches to discover fundamental and applied principles that advance science in their core disciplines. The department strives to improve the health, prosperity, and welfare of people in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and beyond. Our core disciplines for teaching and research are:

  • Agricultural and Food Systems — focuses on the interconnections between producers, distributors, regulators, and consumers in a variety of issues related to food choices, markets, pollution, and health
  • Community Development and Engagement — focuses on community resilience through civic engagement, leadership, and entrepreneurship to support sustainable communities and regional economies
  • Environment and Natural Resources — addresses the human impact on fundamental natural assets, such as land, water, and air, and tackling the challenges that growing populations create for economic efficiency, social equity, and environmental sustainability
  • Population Processes in Global Perspective —enhancing scholarship on migration and immigration, health, and material well-being of individuals and households across the world

The department offers a variety of undergraduate and graduate degrees, with three thematic areas to guide our scholarship. These three themes utilize the respective strengths of each of the three core disciplines while providing an overall collaborative framework for research, scholarship, teaching, and outreach.

The Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology programs and the departmental main office are located in Armsby Building. The faculty of the Agricultural Extension Education program is in Ferguson Building. Come meet our faculty, staff, and students and discover for yourself why we are happy to call the department our home.

Latest News

May 31, 2024

Mid-Atlantic Intergenerational Conference slated for July 10-12 in Lancaster

In collaboration with mid-Atlantic organizations working to create and sustain meaningful connections across generations, Penn State will host the Mid-Atlantic Intergenerational Conference July 10-12 at the Holiday Inn in Lancaster. Organizers said attendees and presenters from all states are welcome.

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May 30, 2024

Jeffrey Hyde returns to take the reins for Penn State Extension

Jeffrey Hyde, most recently a professor and administrator at Texas A&M University, has returned to Pennsylvania to become director of Penn State Extension and associate dean in the College of Agricultural Sciences. He started in his new role on April 25.

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May 24, 2024

Virtual training may be an effective, cost-efficient option for child educators

Teachers and other child educators can benefit from regular professional development, but in-person training can be expensive. In a new study, researchers at Penn State and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln found that virtual training can be a budget-friendly alternative — and especially effective for certain groups of educators.

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May 16, 2024

Industry fellowship provides real-world experience for doctoral student

Xialing Zhao, a doctoral candidate in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences, participated in the college's first-of-its-kind summer fellowship pairing Penn State graduate students with industry mentors to help students navigate the transition from academia to careers in industry.  

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Department of Agricultural Economics, Sociology, and Education


Armsby Building
University Park, PA 16802